West McLaren Mercedes completed a three day testing programme at the Valencia circuit this week, during which Test Driver Pedro de la Rosa drove the team's 2005 car, MP4-20, for the first time. Kimi drove MP4-20 for the final two days of the test, while Alex was driving a modified version of last year's MP4-19B car.
The three drivers completed a total of approx. 2,200km over the course of the three days, approx. 770km in MP4-20. Alex set the fastest time on the circuit during the first two days of the test, with times of 1m09.372s and 1m09.203s respectively, while Kimi set the fastest lap time on the team's final day at the circuit with a 1m08.995s lap.
Pedro's first day of testing in MP4-20 was affected by problems with the car's systems, caused by embedded time apparatus at the Valencia circuit. Consequently he completed 21 laps of the circuit.
On day two, the team had resolved the problems of the previous day, taking steps to shield the affected components. Kimi's programme was interrupted by an excursion across the gravel which resulted in him hitting the barrier at turn two. There was slight damage to the rear of the car and 3.5 hours of track time was lost while the car was repaired.
The final day of the test was trouble free, with Kimi completing 117 laps of the circuit in MP4-20. During the day he completed a full race distance, which was only interrupted by red flag incidents caused by other cars on the circuit.
Next week's testing programme moves to Jerez where the team will have two MP4-20 cars in action.
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO, Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:
"This week has seen a productive test, the only concern was the problem experienced by Pedro on Tuesday. The test team worked hard to identify and rectify the problem, and the final day of the test saw Kimi set the fastest lap time in MP4-20."
Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz motorsport:
"Our team had three productive test days. Alex was concentrating mainly on tyre testing. Kimi experienced some good steps forward in improving the performance of the MP4-20. I wouldn't read too much into the lap times, but we are pleased with the progress we have made with the new MP4-20 so far."
"There is still a lot of work to do in our next tests at Jerez and Barcelona. Collectively all teams present during testing at Valencia ran a total of almost 11,000 kilometres with 13 cars testing over the course of three days."
"This figure impressively reflects how intensive testing has become since the one-set-per-race tyre rule has been introduced. I'd like to thank our test team for all their hard work they have done day and night. In the first two months of the year these guys have the toughest job to do."
"The final day of the test was very positive for me. I completed a full race distance and we had a trouble free day."
Pedro de la Rosa:
"Unfortunately we were experiencing problems all day on my first run in the MP4-20 and I only completed 21 laps. However the test team were able to identify the cause of the problem and I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel."